Asia is the new center of gravity of the world bioeconomy. Thailand’s largest energy company, PTT Pcl, plans to invest about 40 billion baht (approximately 1 bln euro) to develop biochemical products over the next five years.
The move will help Thailand become a centre for the bioplastic industry in the Asia Pacific region, Chansin Treenuchagron, senior executive vice president for PTT’s petrochemical unit, said, adding that biochemicals are expected to contribute about 2 percent of PTT’s revenue by 2020.
PTT (formerly known as Petroleum Authority of Thailand) group has joined with Japan’s Mitsubishi Chemical Holding Corp to form a $100-million joint venture to build Thailand’s first polybutylene succinate (PBS) plant with an annual capacity of 20,000 tonnes.
The commercial run is expected to start in the second half of 2016, Chansin said. PTT subsidiary PTT Global Chemical Pcl is also considering investing in building a polylactic acid (PLA) plant in Thailand, he said.
PBS and PLA, key raw materials for biodegradable plastics, can be produced from sugar or cassava, which are abundant in Thailand.
PTT’s Chansin called on the government to offer tax incentives to produce bioplastics because costs for biodegradable products are two or three times higher than for non-biodegradable ones.
PTT is one of the largest corporations in the country and also the only company from Thailand listed in Fortune Global 500 companies.